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Jeremy Johnson

Seeing the suffering and struggle around us, many people want to reach into their wallets and help. For some putting their money where their mouth is, is a way they can help organizations and movements bring about the change they want to see. Making the decision where to donate is complicated, with thousands of organizations and groups to give to, so how do you decide?

Kelsey Gardipee, charity review manager for Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific, says: "Donating to a cause you support is a great way to help make a difference. To make sure that your donation makes the greatest impact, do a quick bit of research first to ensure that you know who you're donating to."

While most that are gathering donations have good intentions, not all groups and organizations are equal in how they distribute and manage the funds you give. Research is vital so you know how your money will lend support and help. Often, an established charity will have the capacity and experience to address the situation and has a track record that can be evaluated.

Gardipee also clarified: "BBB accredits charities to help donors find trustworthy organizations to support, but we recognize that there are other avenues out there to support racial equality. When dealing with crowdfunding campaigns, social welfare groups (501c(c)4s), and newly formed organizations, you'll have to take different steps to verify their accountability before donating."

No matter the group or organization you want to support, it's vital that your money is used the way you want it to be used. Better Business Bureau gives these tips to donate thoughtfully.

Research: Get familiar with the organization and its mission. Visit the organization's official website to learn about their mission and their practices.

Visit the official website: The official website will clearly state what forms of donations they accept, and you can find other resources for getting involved.

Double-check donation method: Paypal, Venmo and Cash App are easy ways to give, and many social media posts are directing people to use these methods. Before donating, ensure you have the correct account.

Check their social media: Some organizations gave received so many donations recently that they recommended people donate to other charities. The most up to date information can usually be found on their social media page.

Consult outside sources: Websites like, and can help you decide where to give. Also, charity tax status and financial information are available from the IRS at . While now all organizations are listed, these sources can help you make more informed giving decisions.

See if the posting describes how funds will be used. Vague descriptions of how the collected funds will be used should also be a yellow caution light. For example, will the funds be used to assist funeral expenses, medical expenses, reconstruction or other activities? Thoughtful requests for funding will take the added step of identifying and verifying needs before the money is raised.

As your heart moves you to help and bring about change, taking the time to ensure your well-intentioned help is going to the right place will help you as an individual feel more confident in your donation and encouraged to donate again.

ABOUT BBB WISE GIVING ALLIANCE: BBB Wise Giving Alliance is a standards-based charity evaluator that seeks to verify the trustworthiness of nationally-soliciting charities by completing rigorous evaluations based on 20 holistic standards that address charity governance, effectiveness reporting, finances, fundraising, appeal accuracy and other issues. Learn more about the 20 BBB Charity Standards and about local charity review at local Better Business bureaus at

Jeremy Johnson is the eastern Idaho marketplace manager for Better Business Bureau, serving the Northwest and Pacific. Contact her by emailing